The strongest argument in favour of a folding workbench as an alternative to a solid one is space-saving. Space is a luxury in the UK and most people aren’t blessed with a generous workshop to plop a solid timber workbench in. Thus, a folding workbench is a more practical - and affordable - substitute.
A humble folding workbench is useful for several automotive tasks – especially car restoration – and other general DIY jobs. They allow you to hold parts securely and away from the vehicle while you work on that particular component, for example. Below, you will find CAR's shortlist of the best folding workbenches currently available.
The best folding workbenches
Having a workbench with two surfaces at different heights makes for a very versatile design. The Workmate can be used as a bench tool stand, vice, or sawhorse, in addition to its classic role as a workbench.
Folded down, it measures 61 x 74 x 19.5 centimetres, but despite being compact, it’s a very sturdy bench. The Workmate can hold up to 250 kilograms. Other useful features include the four adjustable swivel pegs and the anti-slip rubber feet.
|• 250kg load limit||• Narrow work surface|
|• Swivel pegs included|
Draper Tilt And Clamp Fold Down Workbench
Where the Black+Decker Workmate has its dual-level surfaces, the Draper workbench has single level but it tilts. Zero, 45, and 90-degree clamping is an excellent touch and very useful, as are the 24 drilled holes for clamping dogs.
Like the Black+Decker Workmate, the Draper model has a two-piece timber top. However, the Draper is lighter at around 6.1 kilograms, and has a maximum load limit of around 100 kilograms. Granted, it’s far behind the Workmate’s 250-kilogram limit, but 100 is still an awful lot.
|• Lightweight||• Narrow work surface|
|• Tilting worktop|
|• Clamping dogs included|
Worx WX066 Sidekick Folding Work Table
Best lightweight foldable workbench
Going lightweight often results in compromise, but not here. Worx has managed to create a folding workbench that weighs less than 6.5 kilograms but can still deal with loads of more than 130 kilograms.
The Worx Sidekick is noticeably more expensive than the Black+Decker and Draper models above, and that is a downside. But the portability of this workbench is fantastic – the top folds in half and the detachable metal legs sit inside. The 61 x 61 centimetre work surface area is larger too.
|• Very portable||• Relatively expensive|
|• Generous work surface area|
|• Clamping dogs included|
Stanley FatMax Express Folding Workbench
Best heavy duty folding workbench
Fulfilling personal requirements is key to buying the right items. If you know that you’ll need a folding workbench that can deal with heavier, more demanding tasks than what the above recommendations can offer, Stanley is on hand to help.
Its Express Folding Workbench has a larger work surface than even the Worx (85 x 60 centimetres) and can bear a maximum load of 450 kilograms. The ABS worktop is a single piece and doesn’t fold, therefore it’s not as compact as the others here, but remains easily portable.
|• High load limit||• Overkill for most|
|• Reasonably good value|
|• Hole and groove inserts for easy clamping|
Summary: what to consider with a foldable workbench
Work surface area: Make sure the workbench in question has a work surface area large enough for your intended use.
Load capacity: Folding workbenches have reasonably high load limits and are fine for most. However, users intending to place very heavy loads on theirs need to have a workbench with a big enough load capacity.
Additional features: Is the workbench’s adjustability suitable for your requirements? Does the top need to be detachable? Think about how such things when choosing a folding workbench.
Price: Folding workbenches are all reasonably affordable and you should have no trouble finding a suitable one within budget.